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View Diary: A Response to TeacherKen and Dailykos Community (357 comments)

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  •  More time to subtract (none)
    The amount of time spent transitioning from class to class must be subtracted from learning time.  Throw in lunch and recess, then subtract the first 5 minutes or so at the start of each class, since it takes at least that long for the kids to settle in, and subtract the last 5 minutes, in which kids are paying more attention to the clock than the teacher.

    When you put it all together, even a "full" school day invloves large amounts of non-learning time.

    I read a few years ago about a family whose son had a serious illness, causing them to need a tutor for the time he was going to be out of school. They were told by the school system that a tutor for 6 hours a week would provide equivalent learning time.

    Do other countries have such short classes, with so many transitions in a day? Would school be more effective if there were a couple of 6 or 10 hour classroom days in a week, followed by two or three days of in-depth experiential learning (field trips, apprenticeships, labs, etc.)?

    Honestly, I don't think I'd consider fields trips unecessary.  There are students whose learning styles mean that they learn more from a filed trip than from an entire semester in the classroom.

    As for inservice days, I'd much rather have interested and engaged teachers who are committed to keeping themselves fresh than teachers who are static. Inservice days are only a waste if the teachers gain nothing from them. However, having them scattered throughout the year, interupting learning time over and over seems silly (not to mention wreaking havoc on parents' work schedules). Consolidating training time in one week, perhaps dovetailing it into the winter holidays or summer vacation, seems more sensible.

    (p.s. We homeschool our kids, partly due to having hated our own public school experiences in what was considered one of the top-rated school districts in the country, and partly due to the experience we had with an over-crowded school system when our older child reached school age. In the end, it seemed the best thing for our children would be to educate them in a way that could take advantage of their individual learning styles, which couldn't happen in public school.)

    Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

    by mataliandy on Sun Oct 09, 2005 at 10:35:37 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  The short weeks and days (none)
      play havoc with the 180 day school year as well.

      Our public schools just started Sept 6.  This week and next week are 3 day weeks.  No spelling words, math tests or social studies for the 3rd graders for the two weeks. They watched "Toy Story" in school on Friday.

      A few more weeks and the getting out at 12:30 days begin for teacher's conferences, then the training days.  Again no spelling or regular work because of the shortened schedule.  When you add in the late arrivals and early departures for snow days, the 180 day school year is a joke.

      I think 180 days might be enough if they were actually full days of regular teaching, but by the time you subtract out all the teacher training absences, special days, testing days, field trips, and shortened schedules it is closer to 100 days of school a year.

      No wonder our children can't concentrate.

    •  Physical movement (none)
      during the day is not a bad thing for children.  Heck, adults as well.
      •  Has to be the right kind of movement (none)
        I agree matalianda on almost every point.  My job takes me into lots of K-12 public school classrooms in many different school districts, rich ones and poor ones.  In elementary school especially, I see a lot of time required to get kids ready to move, to move them, and then to settle them down after they've moved.  This is far less of a problem with middle and high schools because the transition time is much quicker.

        But I respond to the comment that physical movement is not a bad thing because it's beside the point.  Indeed, physical movement is an EXCELLENT thing but schools shouldn't rely on walking down the hall as the sole exercise for a young child during the school. Separately, many schools are phasing out recess--very bad in my opinion.  So far, few have mentioned the word "recess" for this diary so I'll post a note down thread specific to this issue.

        •  Movement (none)
          High school and elementary or middle school are quite different.  I'd favor movement from classroom to classroom for high school level and remaining in the classroom for younger students.  Also better for the teachers.  Each level has different constraints.

          I'll look for the recess discussion.  Adequate lunch time is important, too. I had adolescents eating candy bars for lunch because they hadn't enough time in a large school to get somewhere to eat, get the food, eat it and be back to class.  Against the rules, but I let them eat in class if they were tidy, etc.

    •  I do not know what type of work or employement (none)
      you do to earn your living but let me share something
      with you.

      I also do not know exactly what teachers saleries are
      in most other states. However my wife is a teacher
      here in MS and has been for 22 years. She is not only
      a good teacher but she is a very good one and one of
      those who loves teaching and it shows in her students
      and the way the students parents respect and treat
      her. The starting salery for teachers her in MS in only in the very low 20s. My wife as a special education teacher with 22+ years has just this year reached upper 30s in salery.

      Now with that out of the way this I want to share with you. Regarding the following.


      Consolidating training time in one week, perhaps dovetailing it into the winter holidays or summer vacation, seems more sensible.

      Here in MS the teachers are paid for 180 days or
      nine months only in their salery year. Days missed because of storms, or ice etc are added on at the end of the year or made up during spring vacation which are not part of that 180 days.

      However many of them also have to take courses
      often during the summer or so called vacation
      time in order to maintain their teaching
      certificate. That happens to be their time for
      which they are not being paid ok.

      On top if that they have to pay out of their on
      pocket for these courses. So for starters the summer time that they are off is not vacation time becaue it is non paid.

      Next my wife is required to put in a full 8 hr day of teaching duties without free time even for lunch since she has to supervise students in the lunch cafe even while eating her lunch.

      That is not counting the fact that she has to put in besides her 8 hours an extra 5 days of 30
      minutes uncompensated time every other week on
      what is called bus duty while students are arriving at school before classes start.

      That is not counting that she is required to work
      the ball games in a shedule which she has to work at least one and most times two ball games a month  
      which usually consist of at least two hrs and most often three hrs each during all games that are
      held after school hours. That is also non paid time.

      Then she has to go back into school several different times during the year for what is called parent/teacher night which is generally over two hrs each and that is non paid.

      Plus at least twice a month she has to stay after school for a faculty meeting of about one hour which is also not paid.

      They do not receive comp time or days off for all
      that extra time.

      All of the is extra and beyond the paid time that teachers are required to do here. Again I do not
      know what it is like in other states.

      Regarding the NCLB, my wife will tell you very
      quick that it is bad for students and teachers
      alike. It is geared more toward teaching to pass
      the test than to teaching the tings that should
      be taught.

      There is much wrong with our system of education
      today but one place that many people make a
      mistake is in thinking that the teachers need to
      do more.

      I agree that there are a lot of teachers
      who could do a better job. But when hiring someone
      who holds much of our children's future in their hands, a starting salery just over $20,000 is
      a major problem.

      It takes a special person to be a teacher and give
      the best they have to shape the lives that we entrust into their hands.

      Don't blame me, I am still trying to figure out what is on the Blue dress :) eaglecries

      by eaglecries on Sun Oct 09, 2005 at 09:07:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Teachers get the short end of the shrift (none)
        Thank you for that description.  It is packed with information on how badly teachers get reamed in this system.  I hope it gets many, many people thinking.

        Just to clarify on the comment to which you were responding - I didn't mean inservice days should be unpaid drains on vacation time, but that the inservice days should be grouped together in a block, preferably in the days leading into or out of an existing vacation - extending the vacation for the kids by a few days, but all at once.

        They should absolutely be paid days.

        From what I understand, teacher salaries suck just about everywhere, which is ridiculous, considering that they literally hold the keys to our future in their hands...

        Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

        by mataliandy on Mon Oct 10, 2005 at 06:43:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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